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Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Groundbreaking singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte rose to fame in the U.S. in spite of segregation, and crossed over into mainstream America on his way to international stardom. His hit 1956 album "Calypso" made him the first artist in industry history to sell over a million LPs, and spawned the smash single "Banana Boat (Day-O)." Though recognized with Grammy, Tony and Emmy awards, Belafonte was blacklisted, harassed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), spied on by the CIA and FBI, and threatened by the Klan, state troopers and Las Vegas mafia bosses.
    Distilled from more than 700 hours of interviews, eyewitness accounts, movie clips, excerpts from FBI files, and news and rare archival film footage and stills, some of which has never been seen before, Sing Your Song reveals Belafonte as a tenacious hands-on activist who worked intimately with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., mobilized celebrities for social justice, participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and took action to counter gang violence, prisons and the incarceration of youth. (HBO Films)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 12, 2012
    90
    Most famously, Belafonte ignited immense controversy both within and without the black community by repeatedly suggesting that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were the "house slaves" of the George W. Bush administration.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 12, 2012
    90
    The revelations keep coming in Sing Your Song and it's hard not to go googly eyed when, for a 1963 CBS special, you see Mr. Belafonte discussing the march on Washington with some fellow marchers, Mr. Poitier, Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, Charlton Heston and the film director Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 12, 2012
    80
    Belafonte still finds ways to address injustice - and now we have over 50 years of his example to follow and his music to enjoy.
  4. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 12, 2012
    70
    Moving and enlightening as it serves up a crash-course in 20th-century history.
  5. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jan 12, 2012
    70
    Really more of an effusive autobiography of the 84-year-old singer-actor than a traditional documentary, so be prepared for something close to sainthood in its tone.
  6. Reviewed by: Kalvin Henely
    Jan 12, 2012
    63
    It's likely, then, that the film was directed by Susanne Rostock the same way Belfonte's new memoir, My Song, was written with Vanity Fair's Michael Shnayerson: to articulate, polish, and edit what the vociferous and at times alarmingly honest Belfonte wants to tell us without injuring his credibility outside of the left any further.
  7. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    Produced by his youngest daughter, Gina, this profile of Harry Belafonte, foregrounding the 84-year-old actor and singer's political activism, is a moving if occasionally wearying hagiography.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

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